Sunday, 28 February 2021


Menz Shed’s fundraising campaign for a bigger shed

The Whitianga Menz Shed is this week launching a fundraising campaign to build and move to a bigger shed. “We have two problems,” says Kevin Robinson, secretary of the Menz Shed. “We don’t yet have a suitable location confirmed and we also need $75,000 just to get out of the blocks. That having been said, we’re well down the track with discussions regarding a site and hope to have some good news in the not too distant future.”

Menz Shed president, Brian Mearns, attended the opening of the new Kerikeri Menz Shed a few months ago. “What they have in Kerikeri, an area with a population similar to Mercury Bay, will be ideal for us here in Whitianga as well,” he says. “We’re very grateful to Richard Vetter of Peninsula Roofing and Scaffolding for making the shed we use at the moment on South Highway available to us rent free, but we have outgrown the space. We have 37 members, but don’t see all of them as often as we should as our lack of space cause them to work on their projects at home, rather than in our shed. A lot of our projects are fixing furniture and equipment for people and community groups. At the moment, those people and groups have to wait up to three months as we just don’t have the space to help them out.

“Our shed as it’s looking right now, can really only accommodate seven or eight members at any one time. That sort of defeats the purpose of a Menz Shed to give blokes - and ladies - the opportunity to get out of the house and spend time with others in a friendly, welcoming setting. There are so many studies out there proving that Menz Sheds are good for their members’ physical and mental health.

“In Kerikeri, they were also stuck with their membership in the mid-30s because they were space constrained. From when they’ve moved into their new 613m² shed, their membership has climbed to more than 70 and they’re still growing.”

The fundraising campaign will mostly take the form of an appeal for sponsorship/donations. This Saturday (27 February), a surplus tool sale will be held to provide an initial boost to the coffers. “If we get to the initial $75,000, we can start looking at applications for a combination of grants, which hopefully will get us across the line,” says Kevin. “If we want to build something similar to what they have in Kerikeri, we’ll need around $650,000 in total. There are some essential things we’ll have to install and they are quite expensive. A dust extractor, for instance. The cost of that alone is $35,000. An alternative is to start with a smaller shed and add on as we go, but our preferred option is to have something that is futureproof. In the long run that will be cheaper also.”

Brian says support for the Whitianga Menz Shed isn’t just support for a group of people who like making and fixing things with their hands while also enjoying each other’s company. “A larger shed will benefit the entire community,” he says. “We’re already fixing equipment for the Mercury Bay Cancer Support Trust, the Whitianga Bike Park and Whitianga Social Services, and will be able to help more groups when we have more space. We also have some incredibly skilled members and they’re happy to transfer what they know to the younger members of our community - the Whitianga Sea Scouts and the OSCAR after school and holiday programme at Social Services, for instance. We just need space to accommodate everyone.

“We can make cots for newborn babies and coffins for people to get buried in. If we have enough space, we’ll really serve the Mercury Bay community from cradle to grave.”

Saturday’s surplus tool sale will be held at the Whitianga Menz Shed (at the Moewai Park side of South Highway past the diesel truck stop) from 8:00am. Donations in support of the appeal can be made into bank account number 02-0496-0124241-001. The Informer has already made a contribution to the fundraising campaign.

Pictured: Kevin Robinson (left) and Brian Mearns of the Whitianga Menz Shed.


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